Written by Dominic Dezzutti

I was fortunate enough to spend the Fourth of July holiday on the Western Slope in Colorado. Besides the obvious beauty, the Western Slope also offers an interesting political and environmental experiment that will very likely be facing metro area voters some time soon.

The cities of Carbondale and Aspen have already banned the use of plastic bags in grocery stores. And the town of Snowmass is putting the issue on the ballot in their next election.

And while this may sound like something that is just for the Roaring Fork Valley, Westword reported last week that Denver Mayor Michael Hancock was asked about this very issue while in Breckenridge last month.

While Hancock was committed to the cause, but not to an outright ban, it’s clear that the issue is not going to be contained to the Western Slope.

What impressed me during my trip was that on one hand, Snowmass was rightly sending the issue to the voters, and not issuing a ban directly from the town council. And secondly, the outright ban in Carbondale and Aspen has not brought the economy to a standstill.

It seems that the Roaring Fork Valley is providing the blueprint for potential action on the issue in the metro area.

Snowmass is showing the right way to address the issue, by letting voters guide the action. And since grocers in Carbondale and Aspen have not collapsed from the new bans, any potential new campaigns have a significant argument that the bans won’t disrupt the economy in an adverse way.

The success of the bans in Carbondale and Aspen do not guarantee success in the metro area, but it will certainly bolster efforts. And in communities like Boulder, who usually prides itself in leading the way on issues such as plastic bag bans, this issue will likely find renewed interest and strength.

So the next time you go to the grocery store, and you are considering bringing your own bags or simply using the bags at the store, also consider the idea that you may be making the same decision on a ballot some day soon.

About The Blogger

– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.


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